Red cabbage, a member of the large family
of cruciferous vegetables, is rich in nutrients. Along with
significant amounts of nitrogen compounds known as indoles,
and dietary fibre, red cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C
(supplying almost twice as much vitamin C as green cabbage).
Look for solid, heavy heads of cabbage, with no more than three
or four loose "wrapper" (outer) leaves. These wrapper
leaves should be clean and flexible but not limp, and free of
discolored veins or caterpillar damage, which may penetrate
the interior of the head. The stem should be closely trimmed
and healthy looking, not dry or split. The inner and outer leaves
should be tightly attached to the stem.
Cabbage keeps well, and retains its vitamin C, if kept cold.
Place the whole head of cabbage in a perforated plastic bag
and store it in the refrigerator . An uncut head of red cabbage
will keep for at least two weeks.
Once a head of cabbage is cut, cover the
cut surface tightly with plastic wrap and use the remainder
within a day or two. Rubbing the cut surface with lemon juice
will prevent it from discoloring.
Don't wash cabbage until you are ready to use it. The interior
is nearly always clean, but if you want to rinse it, do so after
cutting or chopping. Avoid cutting cabbage in advance (it will
lose vitamin C). If you must prepare cabbage an hour or more
before cooking or serving it, seal it tightly in a plastic bag
When cutting cabbage into wedges, leave part
of the core intact to help hold the leaves together. However,
when cabbage is to be cut up into smaller pieces, the first
step is to quarter and core it: Cut the cabbage in quarters
through the stem. Then cut out a wedge-shape section from each
quarter to remove the stem and core.
To slice or shred cabbage, place a quarter
wedge on the cutting board so that it's resting on its side.
Slice the wedge vertically, gauging your cuts to produce wide
ribbons or fine shreds, as desired. Or, grate cabbage by hand
on the coarse side of a grater, or shred it in the food processor,
using the grating disk.
Use a stainless steel (not carbon steel)
knife when cutting cabbage; the vegetable's juices react with
carbon steel and will turn the cut edges of red cabbage blue.
To further preserve its bright color, red cabbage should also
be cooked in a non reactive vessel, not an aluminium or cast-iron